My Favourite Thing Today

If the sky clears up on a summer’s evening in Ireland, there is nothing more beautiful than the 8pm light. It is bright, so bright that you can’t even look in the direction of the sun, let alone straight at it. You have to walk with your back to the sun, or you’ll spend your stroll squinting and holding your hand over your eyes and scrunching up your face. But, that’s ok, you don’t mind, because not only is it bright, it is clear and warm. It warms your back as you walk away from it, and it throws soft pinks and oranges on to the remaining grey clouds floating through the bright, bright blue, making them prettily melancholy rather than menacing.
The blue is so bright, so clear, it looks aqua, it looks like the colour of bubblegum ice-cream, it’s happy and joyful in the way that a 10 year old boy is. The neon blue clashes against the neon green of the grasses: it’s that bluey-blue and that really, honestly, truly green of a child’s crayola set, so of course it looks kind of odd, kind of make-believe and kind of not-quite-right. Kind of over-the-top and less than serious. But, the more you look at it, the more you stare, somehow, probably because the colours are so bright (SO BRIGHT), they also seem to match, seem to go together even though they are so woefully and ridiculously mismatched.
Up ahead, the thin tarmac road curves away from you, between bright (BRIGHT) green hedges, held in by scraggly barbed wire fences. Occasionally there is a car, but it might also be a tractor, fat, and old and rusty and bright blue to match the bright blue sky. The driver of the maybe-car or the maybe-tractor will always wave and smile broadly, their eyes will crease and they will seem to laugh at your enjoyment of the light, of the walk, of the green and the blue, they will laugh along with you.
And then, from around a bend comes an elderly couple, arm linked through arm, tottering along in the middle of the tarmac, speaking softly to each other, a tortoiseshell kitten running in and around their feet. Their hair is the same almost-white, as if they had discussed it sometime in the past and agreed to grow old at exactly the same time. Their heavy knitted sweaters are beige, with chunky crisscross patterns and flecks of brown, and their jeans are well-worn and well-loved, these are clothes that were bought for a serious purpose, have been lived in and used.Their faces are slightly red, it might be the crisp air against the skin, or it might be the slight hill they are tackling together, or it might be a summer spent outside with no hat. They smile and nod, they ask how you are with a genuineness that even some close friends can’t manage.
And, then they are gone. One moment, hardly anything, not more than a few minutes in duration, but it makes such an impression, it brings such joy, it brings such belief and hope that you have to rush home and write it all down before you forget. Every little detail, everything about them, this unknown, perfectly wonderful, perfectly happy septuagenarian couple.


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Filed under Ireland, Random

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